Farm groups opposed to 2008 farm bill extension

The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, the National Milk Producers Federation and National Farmers Union all rejected the idea of extending current farm law set to expire at the end of September.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, the National Milk Producers Federation and National Farmers Union all rejected the idea of extending current farm law set to expire at the end of September.

The one-year extension is being pushed by House Republicans in lieu of a House vote on a new farm bill. House leadership has refused to allow floor time for a farm bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on July 11 via a bipartisan vote.

The groups’ press releases follow.

  • AFBF opposes farm bill extension.

The American Farm Bureau Federation said today that a House proposal to extend the current farm bill for one year fails to move the nation any closer to securing a comprehensive, long-term farm bill and the organization would stand in opposition.

“A one-year extension offers our farm and ranch families nothing in the way of long-term policy certainty,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and confident signals from our lawmakers.”

Late last Friday, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor , House Majority Leader, announced that the House “may consider a farm bill extension” this week. The legislation would provide for a one-year extension of current law governing farm programs, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation programs and federal nutrition programs, as well as reauthorize supplemental agricultural disaster assistance for the 2012 fiscal year, retroactively, and for the 2013 fiscal year.

Stallman pointed out that the Senate-passed farm bill and the bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee already include disaster provisions for livestock farmers, and those measures would likely be included in any conference committee held for the long-term legislation. Meanwhile, the extension bill “does nothing to help hog or poultry producers, little to provide assistance to the dairy industry and nothing to aid fruit and vegetable producers who may not have crop insurance available to them as a risk management tool,” according to Stallman.

“Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address many of the core principles we believe are important, such as strengthening crop insurance as a reliable risk management tool,” Stallman said. “We are encouraging members of the House and their leaders to recognize the example set by both the Senate and House Agriculture Committee chairs and ranking members to forge fiscally responsible bipartisan legislation. An extension falls well short of that target.” 

  • NFU -- Farm bill extension is political game. 

“National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. House of Representatives proposing legislation to extend the 2008 farm bill for one year:

“National Farmers Union stands opposed to the one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill. We would support an extension only if the next step is to conference a comprehensive five-year farm bill before the Sept. 30 expiration date.

“An extension that ignores the goal of a five-year bill merely kicks the can down the road, as we are faced with uncertainty about next year’s budget. A one-year extension would also necessitate starting the farm bill drafting process over in the new Congress in January. House leadership needs to stop playing political games and show it values rural America, and pass a farm bill now.

“The conservation title is one of the few titles that, since last December, most stakeholders have agreed on. It provides the needed programs for good conservation practices. However, the House one-year extension cuts the one title that had the most agreement among all parties. It also cuts mandatory funding from vital beginning farmer and rancher, renewable energy and direct-to-consumer marketing programs.

“As the drought wreaks havoc across the nation, our farmers and livestock producers are looking for relief and certainty. It is critical that permanent disaster programs be approved retroactively to cover losses incurred in 2012. Our farmers and ranchers are facing a rough harvest and barren pastures; further delays will have a huge impact on the U.S. agriculture industry.

“We commend the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the entire Senate, for taking swift action on the farm bill and now look to the House to follow suit. The clock is ticking, and this extension is just wasting time that could be spent on passing a bipartisan, forward-looking bill before the Sept. 30 deadline.”

  • American Soybean Association

With a proposed extension of the 2008 farm bill on the House floor this week, American Soybean Association (ASA) First Vice President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., issued the following statement on this legislation:

“The American Soybean Association believes that U.S. farmers and livestock producers need certainty in programs which help them manage risk in order to make decisions which will affect their operations over the long-term. This is particularly true today, with devastating drought conditions covering over half of the country. A one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill, combined with short-term disaster assistance to livestock producers, will not provide the certainty that agriculture needs now. We need a new five-year farm bill with long-term risk management and disaster assistance programs.

“ASA understands that a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill may be all that can pass the House before it adjourns this week. We support moving the farm bill process forward, so that a Conference can be convened in September, when Congress returns. ASA supports a one-year extension provided there are assurances that a new five-year bill can be negotiated at that time.”

  • NMPF--Proposed effort would provide no real relief for dairy farmers.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today issued the following statement expressing strong opposition to attempts by the House to extend a version of the current farm bill by one year and reiterating support for the inclusion of Dairy Security Act (DSA) in any final farm bill package:

“The current safety net for dairy farmers is not sufficient in dealing with scenarios like we are currently facing from high feed costs associated with the ongoing drought,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “If we are going to be serious about providing better protection for the nation’s dairy farmers while at the same time providing taxpayer savings from current programs, then we should pass a new farm bill which includes the DSA, which was included in both the Senate-passed farm bill and the farm bill recently passed out of the House Agriculture Committee.

“Under the proposed extension, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) would not pay out for the remainder of 2012 or for 2013 while the nation’s dairy farmers are experiencing razor-thin margins. The proposed 2008 farm bill extension does nothing to ensure dairy farmers and their bankers that they will have any safety net to deal with the present and future periods of tight margins and extreme volatility.

“Our current dairy policy is outdated and costs more to taxpayers while the new provisions actually save taxpayer dollars. Dairy farmers have spent more than three years working closely with legislators in crafting comprehensive dairy policy reform so that they have a stronger safety net while at the same time reducing the burden for taxpayers. Any outcome that does not include these carefully crafted provisions would be a failure to lead agriculture in the right direction.

"We urge both the House and the Senate to reject an extension of our failed policies."

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